I Have Been Dismissed For Gross Misconduct – What Should I Say In My Appeal?
If your employer has been through a disciplinary process which has resulted in your gross misconduct dismissal, you have the right to appeal their decision. Read on for more information about appealing your dismissal.
What Is A Gross Misconduct Dismissal?
A dismissal for gross misconduct will usually follow a disciplinary process. You should have been told about the disciplinary allegations against you; you should have been given a copy and/or access to any evidence your employer was relying on; and, you should have been allowed to attend a disciplinary meeting or hearing so you could explain your version of events and make any representations.
If after the above your employer find the disciplinary allegations against you to be proven and, also considers them to be very serious, they may decide that they are matters of gross misconduct. In the event of your employer considering the disciplinary allegations to be gross misconduct, they can summarily dismiss you with immediate effect. This means a dismissal with having to give you notice or making a payment in lieu of notice.
If you believe that the reason for your dismissal is unfair and/or your employer did not follow the correct disciplinary procedure, you should appeal their decision.
What Should I Say In My Gross Misconduct Dismissal Appeal Letter?
Usually towards the end of your dismissal letter, there will be information regarding how to appeal your dismissal and it will give a timeframe for doing so. It may be that within your employer’s disciplinary policy they have a template or guidance regarding appeals. If so, you must follow your employer’s procedure.
If there is no information within your dismissal letter about appealing, it does not mean you cannot make an appeal. If there is no procedure in place, or it is silent on the form the appeal should take, then there is no set format and submitting a letter (or email) should suffice. You should send your letter of appeal as soon as possible to the person who dealt with your dismissal.
Your letter of appeal should outline why you disagree with your employer’s decision and why you believe your gross misconduct dismissal is unfair. For example:-
- You may disagree you have done anything wrong;
- You may have had insufficient training;
- You might be aware of others who have done the same thing but have not been disciplined/dismissed;
- You may have been ambushed with information at the disciplinary meeting/hearing that you had not had the chance to review etc.
Realistically, the reasons for your appeal will be unique to your circumstances. You just need to make sure your appeal sets out all the matters you want to raise. Indeed, your appeal letter/email should be a comprehensive document raising the concerns you have with your dismissal. It is not enough to say you do not think it is fair, you need to explain why. Whatever you are unhappy with, you should include within the letter.
What Happens Next?
To an extent, this is down to your employer. However, the next steps should be that your appeal is referred to a manager who was not involved in your gross misconduct dismissal. If there is no other manager, the person conducting the appeal should be of sufficient seniority.
The concerns raised in your appeal should be considered and, possibly, reinvestigated by the second manager (depending on the matters you have raised). Once they have reviewed the information, you should be invited to an appeal meeting/hearing.
The appeal hearing may just focus on the specific concerns you have raised, or it may completely rehear all evidence presented at the original disciplinary meeting/hearing. After the hearing has been concluded, you should receive a written outcome of your appeal.
Your employer may uphold your appeal, which means that when they have considered your comments, they agree, or they now do not believe a gross misconduct dismissal was appropriate in the circumstances.
Your employer may dismiss your appeal, which means that when they have considered your comments, they do not agree and are still of the opinion that your employment should have been terminated for gross misconduct.
What If I Do Not Appeal?
If you are unhappy with your employer’s decision to dismiss you, you should appeal, however you do not have to. That being noted, you must be aware that you could be penalised for failing to appeal your employer’s decision or not following their procedure if you then wanted to pursue an Employment Tribunal claim.
An Employment Tribunal will expect you and your employer to have complied with the ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures, which includes appealing a gross misconduct dismissal. If the Employment Tribunal finds in your favour but considers you have failed to follow the Code of Practice by failing to appeal, the Employment Tribunal can reduce any compensation you are awarded by up to 25%.
Beware! Watch Your Time Limits
If you are thinking of pursuing a claim at the Employment Tribunal, you need to keep in mind that there are strict time limits for claims which run from your last day of employment (even if you have submitted an appeal). Please bear any time limit in mind as you go through the appeal process, further information about Employment Tribunal time limits can be found at https://lincslaw.co.uk/blog/is-your-employment-tribunal-claim-in-time/
Lincs Law Employment Solicitors Can Help You
If you have been dismissed for gross misconduct and are considering appealing your employer’s decision, or your appeal has been rejected and you want to pursue an Employment Tribunal claim, please contact us on 01522 440512 for an initial free, no obligation, telephone review. Alternatively, if you would like more information about Employment Tribunal claims, please visit our blog at www.lincslaw.co.uk/services/employees/employment-tribunal-claims/
Managing Director, Specialist Employment Solicitor